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Fibromyalgia; Facts to Know.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and multiple tender points. "Tender points" refers to tenderness that occur in localized areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders and hips.

People with fibromyalgia may also experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, morning stiffness, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression and other symptoms.

About 2 percent of the U.S. adult population suffers from fibromyalgia, and it predominantly affects women. The condition primarily occurs in women of childbearing age, but children, the elderly and men can be affected.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia, though the disorder can be successfully managed.

Fibromyalgia is defined based on widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least 11 of 18 specific tender point sites for at least three months. There are no lab tests to confirm a diagnosis, although such tests may be used to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

There appears to be a link between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Up to 70 percent of people with fibromyalgia fit the criteria for CFS.

Low-impact aerobic exercise such as walking and swimming can help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Physical therapy and stretching exercises also help.

A variety of medications are used to treat fibromyalgia, including the first approved medication for fibromyalgia, Lyrica (pregabalin). Other medications include antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs.

If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you should monitor your pain, noting activities that increase it and therapeutic approaches that improve it. Repetitive activities may temporarily exacerbate the condition, as may sitting in one position for long stretches of time.

Studies find that negative thinking increases stress and affects your perception of pain, so learning to minimize and control these thoughts can improve your symptoms. The key is not so much to "think positively," but to "think non-negatively."

References

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Keywords: fibromyalgia, fibromyalgia syndrome, tender points, sleep, women, depression, antidepressants
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Publication:NWHRC Health Center - Fibromyalgia
Article Type:Disease/Disorder overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 3, 2007
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